Saturday, October 31, 2009

an end to pub lunches

Thursday was a bright, sunny day with mild temperatures. A perfect day to spend wandering in and out of the shops in downtown Fredericton. And a perfect day for a lazy pub lunch at the Lunar Rogue. That really makes you feel like you're on vacation - idly sipping a pint while business people grab hurried lunches all around.

No trip to Fredericton would be complete without a visit to Briggs & Little. I'd planned to buy SoftSpun, but was waylaid by these darker Heritage colourways - midnight blue and brown heather. On the drive home I knit a hat based on B&L's free pattern, All Dressed Up by Ann Marie Cunard.

Now that I'm home the frazzled business person is likely to be me. Time to buckle down - work has been piling up for the last week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

sock delays

Early Tuesday morning we set out for Nova Scotia looking for some good surf. And were sadly disappointed. It seems I'm "wave repellent". Reports are that the surf was great Sunday and Monday, until it died Tuesday when we arrived. Hmmm, isn't this exactly what happened last year? So we bailed and spent the afternoon and evening in Halifax. It was cold, almost everything was closed for the season, but at least the hotel was nice. And they did a very nice complementary breakfast as well.

On the drive to and from Lawrencetown and points in between I knit another cabled hat. Couldn't help but feel that my styrofoam head was looking a bit cold. And these big bamboo needles are far less likely to slide out of my knitting to fall to some unreachable spot below my seat in the car. Besides, there's been a little mishap on my Pomatomus socks - I've realized that I completely messed up the chart for the top of the foot and had to rip back almost to the gusset. Hmmmm. Might be wise to put that project aside for a day or two!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just for Laughs

At the Fredericton Flea Market I picked up a styrofoam head for a buck. I figure it'll make posing hats a lot easier. The vendor offered me a second styrofoam head for free, but I declined. What possible use would I have for a second head? My brother bought some really good used books - various titles from Sandford, Robinson and Grafton. And we all munched on some really good fudge.

Later we drove out to Saint John for the Just for Laughs comedy festival, headlining Danny Bhoy. Hilarious! Especially the bit comparing beer drinkers to wine drinkers! Add in dinner at a fancy Indian restaurant and you can see why not much knitting was done. Finished the heel turn and worked the gusset, but still on the first sock.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

15 hour drive

The first few hours of the drive were in complete darkness, so there was no possibility of knitting then. And the last couple hours were also in darkness, so same problem. But that still left almost 10 hours to knit. What to knit? Well, I've had Pomatomus socks in my queue for months. And I have these two skeins of Lorna's Laces handpainted sock yarn. Seemed like a plan. And let me tell you, the pictures do not do this pattern justice. It's fantastic! And so is the yarn. I knit most of the leg of the first sock and was just about to start the heel flap, but it was time to put my knitting aside. Because when driving in New Brunswick, it's a good idea to keep a sharp eye out to see if any moose or deer plan to bolt in front of your car ... something my brother learned the hard way.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

never can tell

For months after buying this Gedifra yarn I'd been regretting the purchase. Not very practical I thought. It might end up sitting in my stash for years. But after hat wars I got to thinking about knitting more hats. And I'm very glad I started with this one. Because as much as the yarn wasn't doing much for me when it sat in balls, I fell in love with it as I knit. It's wonderful to knit and gives a very pleasing result. Too bad I didn't buy more.

But now it's bedtime. Especially considering the alarm's set for 4am. We're getting up before dawn to get an early start. If we get on the road promptly we can get to NB before bedtime tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

hectic days

Things have been hectic for the last several days. With several large work projects on the go, and getting ready for a vacation starting Friday, I haven't had much time to knit, or blog, or even sleep. Although, I have knit most of a simple cabled hat between tasks. But finally the to-do list is getting smaller. There's a light at the end of the tunnel - thank goodness!

In the early hours of Friday morning we're packing up the car and heading to New Brunswick to visit my brother. With a fifteen hour drive ahead of us, I need to pack some car knitting projects. A lacy shawl might be a bit too ambitious, but maybe a couple of sock projects would fit the bill.

Monday, October 19, 2009

a frog, almost

So that's him, almost ... just a bit of work left on his front legs. I still have to graft to create his elbow joints and a couple of toes on each front limb. And then he's done. I'm really, really happy with how he turned out. The short row shaping of the arm and leg muscles is oddly effective. He's a bit smaller than I expected - about 10" long from hind toes to snout - but still a good size. If ... when I do another, I'll have to remember to moderate the amount of stuffing in the hind legs and bulk up on the stuffing in his body. I've got lots of this Patons Look At Me yarn left so there may be another couple of frogs on the needles in the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

a busy Saturday

The Leafs sank to new depths last night losing to the NY Rangers to bring their record to 0-7 for the season. Even if the Leaf forwards weren't productive through the game, I was; I finished my Easy Eyelet socks and knit two more snowball Christmas decorations. The socks look cute and comfortable - I'm quite happy with them. And I'm still infatuated with the Christmas decorations. Every scrap of novelty yarn in the house may be knitted into decorations in the coming weeks!

But it was a busy day yesterday. Up before dawn to head out to work for a few hours. Then up to my sister's to catch up with my nephew, so that his parents could spend some time at the hospital with a sick friend. And then off to the dealership to pick up MY NEW CAR!!! Even as I think it, I can hear the announcer describing the Showcase prizes on the Price Is Right exclaim "... A NEW CAR!!!"

Friday, October 16, 2009

a box of eyes

They're here - a whole bunch of safety eyes! Figuring that shipping was going to cost me more than the eyes themselves, I thought I may as well order a whole box of them. Maybe I'll make several more frogs! I have lots more of this Patons Look at Me sport yarn. Or maybe I'll try other Amigurumi. If this frog is anything to go by, they're very fun to knit.

Gavin remarks that eyes look more like Teddy Bear eyes than Frog eyes. And he's right, because THEY ARE Teddy Bear eyes. But I am undeterred. Check out Aerulan's photo. I'm hoping they'll turn out like that. Today I'm going to finish my second sock. So that tomorrow I can turn my full attention to the frog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

second sock

Knitting my second Easy Eyelet sock seemed like a good way to pass the time while I wait for my Frog eyes to arrive. The temptation to start new projects has been particularly strong over the last couple of weeks, so I need to buckle down and finish things first. As I knit this second sock I'm reminded how quick and mindless the pattern is. Perfect for knitting in the car, on the train, at work and in front of the TV. Last night I turned the heel through the Tudors. Poor Jane Seymour - we all know that her pregnancy won't end well! As I knit I've resolved that the next few projects will be more challenging. Maybe it's time for another lace shawl! I've been looking at Heartland Lace Shawl from Evelyn Clark, and I think I have some suitable yarn in my stash.

Monday, October 12, 2009

mixing up the holidays

Here in Canada we're celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Our holiday is a few weeks earlier than in the U.S., but so is our harvest. Makes sense, right? It was nice to have dinner with my sister and family, complete with a Turkey and all the trimmings. And a three day weekend also doesn't come amiss.

But when the craft store informed me that they no longer carried the safety eyes I need to finish my frog, that bit of bad news put a wrench in my knitting plans. So I've ordered them online, but it may be a few weeks before they arrive. In the meantime I'm getting a head start on my Christmas knitting. At first, for the pattern Deck the Balls, I planned to use sock yarn leftovers. Until I came across a ball of icicle yarn in the yarn from my Mom, which got me thinking ... snowball ornaments!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

planning the eyes

Yesterday I posted that I'd been too impatient to finish the toes of the second hind leg. And felt a bit ashamed of that admission. So when I got home from work last night, I buckled down to get that done, as well as the rest of the body top and the front legs. The eyes come next, but I don't think I'm going to follow the instructions here. When Aerulan knit her frog, she worked the eyes with plastic safety eyes and crochet eyelids - and I just love the look of that. I'm not much of a crocheter but surely I can manage these few stitches. While we're out running errands this morning, I hope to pick up some safety eyes at the craft store. That way I can work the eyes, attach the front legs, and start the underside of the body through the hockey game tonight. With Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in town, I don't like the Leafs' chances. But chances are I can finish the Tree Frog in the next day or two!

Friday, October 9, 2009

more frog-like

The toes are fiddly work ... I lost patience after the first foot and skipped ahead. But the body is a wonder of short row shaping and slanted increases and decreases. This is a clever pattern! I learned more new tricks - KLL (Knit Left Loop) and KRL (Knit Right Loop) thanks to this helpful online tutorial. It's becoming very frog-like now, no doubt about it.

And I've anted up for Furnace Wars 2009 - a contest on one of my Ravelry boards, based on this old blog post from the Yarn Harlot. In our household it's a matter of honour to see how late into the Fall we can go before turning on the furnace, and how soon in Spring we can turn it off again. Participants ante up yarn, post when they give in and turn on the heat, then send the yarn to the last person without heat. I was pretty confident until someone posted that they lived over a laundromat! Yikes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

funnest ever

When Clara Hughes and Cindy Klaasen won gold and bronze speed skating medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Clara asked Cindy to share the top step of the podium with her for the singing of "O Canada". And a few lines into the anthem she turned to Cindy to exclaim "This is so fun!". At least that's what it looked like to me, lip-reading at home. That moment sticks out in my memory as an expression of buoyant happiness. And came to mind as I started knitting my Tree Frog.

I sat on the GO train working wrap & turn short rows to shape the legs, almost gleeful with excitement. Because it's crazy amazing, this pattern. And it totally works if you just follow the line by line instructions. How lucky is it that I learned about wrap & turn short rows just a few days ago! Not sure what to make of the photo? It's the first hind leg of my frog. Toes still to be added. Joints still to be angled and grafted. Funnest knit ever!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the battle ends

Woe is me! An innocent looking package awaited my return from work last night. That's me out of the Hat Wars competition; knocked out by a very nice Isotope Hat from Karen at KG Krafts in Massachusets. Accompanied by chocolate and herbal tea, it wasn't a bad way to go. It's a very nice hat and fits perfectly. Nice colour, too. Later today or tomorrow I should know my final ranking.

The first of my Easy Eyelet socks is also done. I'm holding off on the finishing - grafting the toe and weaving the end - until the second sock is done. I'm still not convinced that I've done the heel correctly. So it may be safest to wait and see how the heel of the second sock turns out, before finishing the first. Just in case I have to rip the foot out and redo the heel.

And I've started poking about, looking through all the yarn I have to decide what to use for my Tree Frog. It's time to try it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

wrap and turn heel

When I reached the bottom of the leg, I discovered that the heel construction in this pattern is wrap & turn short rows instead of the usual heel flap and gusset, so I'm learning a new technique. The upside? No holes anywhere - very tight construction. The downside? The resulting heel is small and the leg pattern travels further down onto the heel than I'd like. Not entirely sure I've worked it correctly, but my heel definitely looks very much like the pattern pictures so it's not far off. Note to self - pay close attention to the row by row instructions for the heel of the second sock!

Hat Wars update: 23 knitters remain in the competition. The odds of me cracking the top 20 look pretty good.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Easy Eyelet socks

With my Mr. Pitt's socks done and my Vespergyle mittens frogged, I wanted something small and portable for train knitting. I've cast on these Easy Eyelet socks with stretch Bamboo sock yarn in a colourway called Mermaid. I've always loved the look of little lacy socks - maybe because they are so completely inappropriate for my giant feet. But I can't imagine they'd stay up if they were knit from a traditional merino wool sock yarn. That little bit of lycra in Dye-Version's bamboo sock yarn seems like a good idea here. It may even give the picot cuff a bit of stretch. Knitting on 2.75 mm needles makes them quick work ... more than 1/3rd of the leg knit during the first period of the hockey game. Sadly the hockey game didn't prove to be much of a distraction - Ovechkin and the Capitals skated circles around the Leafs. Shades of last season ... sigh.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

insurmountable problems

When I started my Vespergyle mittens I wasn't sure I'd have enough contrast colour yarn. So I shortened the cuff and omitted the CC stripes, and determined to knit the thumb entirely in MC. Problem solved. But after setting aside the thumb gore stitches and rejoining in the round I had to acknowledge there was another problem. My main colour Alapaca yarn was noticeably heavier than the fingering yarn recommended by the pattern - the mitten was working up way too big. Although it's labeled sport weight, I'd say it's a light DK. This'll never work! A shame really, because the pattern is beautiful and so is the yarn. I had to pull it out, rewind the yarn and rethink.

Any feelings of distress over the mittens quickly evaporated when I turned my attention to the lovely yarn that arrived by post from the Loopy Ewe. A friend had emailed a gift certificate to thank me for some design work I had done for her, and with it, I'd picked out these skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a hand-painted colourway called Tuscany. Hmmm. What to knit? Maybe Pomatomous by Cookie A?

Friday, October 2, 2009

finished socks

Finished - one complete pair of Mr. Pitt's Socks! Okay, I'll admit it, this easy knit had become quite tedious towards the end. But the socks are exactly what I had hoped - soft, stretchy, comfortable and practical. After modeling them for the photo, I think Gavin may be wishing his gloves were from yarn like that. I can see there's a second pair of gloves in his future.

Next on the needles? I'm casting on Vespergyle Mittens with Alapaca yarn purchased at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair at the Hubbert Farms booth. Fingers crossed, though, because I'm not at all sure that I have enough yardage to complete them. I'm going to give it a go.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

a Hat Wars surprise

Apologies to Canada Post - unbelievably, the hat that was mailed to me was returned by the US Postal Service to the sender in Massachusetts. I guess USPS didn't like how it was wrapped. My fateful hat is being repackaged and remailed today. How lucky is that? As it stands now, I am one of only 39 knitters still in the competition. Who knows, I may even finish in the top ten!?!

And, as you can see, Gavin's second glove is done. He's tried them out and says he likes them, but a Eucalan soak is still needed to soften them up. Under no circumstances am I to felt them though, or so I was told last night. Sigh, back to my second sock.